Sickle Cell treatment center coming to Memphis

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A new, $5 million Sickle Cell Center is coming to the Mid-South.

Mark Yancy has been battling Sickle Cell ever since he was child. Both of his hips were replaced after the disease destroyed bone and tissue.

"It's almost like a tornado," he said. "You start feeling pain. It get worse and worse. It can take you off work and school."

Yancy joined Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford, and healthcare leaders Tuesday to announce the launch of a $5 million fundraising campaign to create the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center of Memphis.  

The facility will help provide 24-hour emergency care, clinical treatment, education, counseling and support.

"For those who are in the most painful of pain, this is their city too," Wharton said. "We want them to feel welcomed, loved, and cared for."

According to the Methodist Healthcare Foundation, there are approximately 1,500 sickle cell patients in the Memphis metro area that suffer from the disease.  

"Those that live with sickle cell anemia are too often neglected in our population," interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford said.

Mike Conley with the Memphis Grizzlies sent a special videotaped message.  

"It's a disease that has hit close to home for me," Conley said in a prepared video. "My two cousins have sickle cell.  It's been devastating for them."

The new center will be housed at Methodist University Hospital's campus.

"This is something that's debilitating, completely debilitating, but you can live with it and it can be managed if you have a comprehensive center like what we're talking about," Yancey said.

For more on how you can make a donation to the Methodist Healthcare Foundation, click here.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.